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ABC system shares profits

GATESVILLE – While not everyone can be counted among those who enjoy an alcoholic beverage, all benefit from the sale of liquor by means of profit margins.

For proof, Gates County local government and the public school system recently shared in the profits of the county’s ABC stores for the most recent fiscal year.

George Kittrell, chairman of the Gates County ABC Board, attended the Nov. 18 meeting of the county’s Board of Commissioners where he announced that nearly $10,000 will flow from ABC coffers to the county and the local schools.

“This past year we had sales of $990,228,” Kittrell told the commissioners. “We sent the state $219,354; paid rehabilitation tax in the amount of $2,892; we paid $3,000 to law enforcement; and paid $66,840 in state sales tax.

“COVID-19 may have had something to do with it, but we had an exceptional year in sales,” Kittrell continued. “And we will share those profits as I have a check for our school board for $1,400 and a check for the county for $8,211. That’s the reason I’m here tonight; not to ask for money, but rather to give you money.”

He added that the state requires each of its ABC systems to distribute profits in excess of pre-determined amounts with their respective county’s local government and pubic education.

Kittrell shared the history of the sale of tax-paid liquor in Gates County. He said that all started with a voter referendum on the ballot in April of 1965. There, 882 of the county’s registered voters at that time voted in favor of establishing an Alcoholic Beverage Commission and opening liquor stores while 425 were opposed to the measure.

“I remember that quite well because I had a great aunt at that time who was very much against it,” Kittrell recalled.

He went on to add that the first ABC store in the county opened in 1967. Now there are two stores: one near the intersection of US 158 and US 13 at Tarheel and the other on NC 32 at the intersection of Folly Road in Corapeake.

The Corapeake store suffered major damage in April of 2009 when it burned following a motor vehicle accident.

“Thanks to insurance and a fund that you, the board of commissioners, allowed us to have, we were able to build a new store there and it opened the very next year,” Kittrell said.

Then, in April of 2011, local officials were advised that US 13 / US 158 would be widened from the Chowan River bridge at Winton through Gates County to Tarheel. That project would impact the ABC store located along the construction zone.

“The offer given to us by [North Carolina] DOT was not sufficient [to rebuild the store at a new location],” Kittrell stated. “We refused that offer and with the help of attorney [Pitt] Godwin, we went to arbitration and it ended quite well for us.”

In 2014, a new ABC store opened near Tarheel.

Today, the two stores in the county’s ABC system are valued at $647,000 with no debt.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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